We've covered some basic at-home preparedness and the time has come to broaden our horizons, step outside our boundaries and taste the freedom of a new wind blowing refreshingly against our faces.
Our homes are safe, ready for some minor (because we are prepared) inconveniences: we have food, water, heat, self-defense implements, a gennie for power and clothing to get us through what can best be described as common, ordinary, day-to-day preparedness. Consider it our insurance policy.
There are three or four general categories of 'prepping', all based on one's idea and world view of what could happen in the future.
First, the lowest common denominator is our homes, the lives of those closest to us and we've covered those in fairly general terms. These always should be our first priority. Get the basics squared away and the rest falls into place. Consider this kind of preps being for elemental/weather related, perhaps a temporary loss of income due to lay-off, firing/down-sizing, etc. Nothing serious, but inconvenient.
Second, and my personal preparedness plan/ideas, are the changes that will ensue due to economic collapse, with small societal changes that will be a direct result: job loss/no income per-se, increased numbers of vagrants/migrants trying to find employment, higher prices for store-bought items- if they're even available, and possibly some looting from these vagrants who are just trying to stay alive. This stage will be relatively peaceful, but due to the larger population today than during the 1930's, the crime will seem much more rampant. It will be a repeat of the Great Depression of last century and be named The Greatest Depression. Which leads us in ever growing stages to...
Three. Closely related to our second scenario but escalated a lot, is the complete societal breakdown, the rule of Martial Law and perhaps foreign invasion, of race riots and a general free-for-all/every man for himself situations. Only a complete idiot would want this to happen. This is the idea shared by most people who have an inaccurate view of preppers and survivalists. Not to say there cannot be such a breakdown of Rule of Law, loss of the Constitution, or (which is my nightmare) the United Nations sending troops here to maintain "peace". Hopefully the American populace will awaken before such as this occurs. I pray so. This, for me, is the ultimate scenario and we cannot ignore it in our thinking of preparedness. This is the point at which TSHTF and many 'preppers' will be in their Bug Out Location. The last, and most highly unlikely circumstances for which we prep are...
Four: green headed-knobby fingered-laser-bearing-mind reading-can't-kill'em-without-an atomic bomb-full-fledged-Zombie from Mars invasion. Truth be told, I love reading C.J. Cherryh and Heinlein (and Heineken labels) and Welles and...dadadadada... but so far as that kind of stuff actually happening. Don't lose your tinfoil. We won't be going there. For some, this is also the "Armageddon scenario"- but those people who predict that aren't up on the proper interpretation of The Scriptures. These "doomers" are living in a no-man's land of wishful thinking due to laziness, immorality, ignorance, whatever. For clarification, I understand Armageddon to be the Final Conflict in the Valley of Meggido- which is in Israel. We won't be going there, either. Not yet, anyway. The time may come, but not for our purposes here.
This post, we'll begin the breakdown of the various scenarios and what we do to prepare for them. As you learn, each tends to lead to or overlaps the next, but in varying degrees. It's your personal world view that dictates how far you will prepare, how much you will decide to defend- and prepare to- what you have, how charitable you will be and with whom (or is it 'who'?) you will be sharing the fruits of your preps, and where will you be living?
Again, this is the period following an economic collapse. If not that bad, then some serious unemployment, vast numbers of vagrants looking for work and food, a place to live. Here is where I believe the majority of our preparations should be viewed. It is in this world we are now extremely close to living.
For those living in large metro areas, or apartments, even to mid-size communities, this stage is going to be difficult for several reasons. Mainly, the extremely close proximity to vagrants (some term them as 'refugees'). Right on the heels of this is the 'no-land/property' factor. Gardens need some kind of land. True, we can grow small crops of veggies in planters on our decks and porches, our window sills or in raised gardens, but nothing on the scale we will need. If we're lucky, we can even keep some small live stock such as chickens and rabbits on personal property, if the Powers That Be will allow it. Community living tends to frown upon raising farm animals. I don't know why, they just do. But we won't be capable of keeping the numbers and kinds of animals we'll need. Think of this stage as being the "Victory Gardens" of the 1900's only today we call them "Liberty Gardens". For obvious reason: they give us liberty to live, which is what preparedness is about.
For this scenario, there will still be electricity, natural gas/propane, automotive gas available. But we'll need to be well-heeled to afford it or scrimp and scrounge very well. There will be food available in groceries, but at what cost? Again, those better off will be able to afford the 'better cuts' and the rest will do with less.
Having skills with which we can barter will be a prominent factor in how well we live, feed our families and continue trying to live in the 'style to which we are accustomed'. (I know: that's really going to become an oxymoron very soon!) Being able to grow sufficient crops and raise livestock will be invaluable. As will repairing a house (building skills: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, typical blue collar jobs), repairing mechanical equipment. Medical (doctor, nurse, veterinarian, dentist, EMT-type skills, which we should all have) skills with an eye to bartering on a more community level rather than insurance payments. Barter will become fashionable again as both a lifestyle and profession- the nomadic tradesman referred to as 'tinkers'. Neighborliness will once again be the rule of the day rather than far-flung acquaintances who will be useless when needed, for the most part.
Here we will need seeds for crops- the basics as a minimum: beans, peas, corn, potatoes, rutabagas, spinach, cabbages, carrots, spinach/char, tomatoes, some salad foods (I don't 'do' salads) such as lettuce and its family. Expect these seed's availability to become virtually nonexistent, so 'heirloom' varieties will be necessary (see suppliers on the sidebar). Learn to grow them ASAP because we really don't have much time. Having the tools and skills for canning our vegetables is a requirement for these coming days. (Google 'canning' for information on any aspect of this nearly 'lost art'.)
For those living in more rural areas, growing the gardens and raising livestock will be much less of a problem. Perhaps a more insidious problem for rural areas will be the 'horde/refugee' people who will have figured out there is likely more food and shelter in the country side than towns. I expect most crime to be located in such areas just because of this. People ignorant of farming and gardens will imagine being able to gather food all year round in the country. (It's amazing how many people think food grows in stores and money grows on trees. I even know people who believe brown cows produce chocolate milk.)
Heirloom seeds and animal husbandry skills will be mandatory, of course, and should be practiced or at least studied by everyone. Other rural skills will be the ability to harvest animal food- hay- in large quantities; having those old-tyme tools will be mandatory in some instances. Ability to use a scythe is nearly a lost art. As is felling trees for firewood, making lumber for home and out-building repairs. Culinary skills will include animal butchering, distasteful at times but necessary.
This is the stage of prepping that guns begin to enter for both survival hunting and self defense, a stage none of us wants to enter but may be forced upon.
Rural areas will be more in tune with the earlier days of our history, having root cellars and a population more attuned to 'work', people more prepared for hardship than city dwellers.
In all aspects, an economic breakdown will be a totally new world for the greater majority of us. We will be required to think and act in ways we really never imagined. New skill sets, ways of living, learning to accept those things we cannot change, being always watchful for those we can, will become a way of life for us. We will survive, however. Because we have prepared.
Prep on, keep your powder dry.
Prep on, keep your powder dry.
Coming next, Stage Three.